Bourdais confirmed at Toro Rosso
|By Matt Beer||Friday, February 6th 2009, 08:17 GMT|
Toro Rosso have confirmed that Sebastien Bourdais will return to the team for a second season in 2009.
The four-time Champ Car champion's Formula One career looked like it might be short-lived when he seemed to be falling out of contention for the second STR seat over the winter as the team sought additional funding.
But yesterday autosport.com revealed that Bourdais would return to testing duties with them next week and was set to be announced as GP2 graduate Sebastien Buemi's teammate for 2009.
"It has been a very long and difficult winter, but now the waiting is finally over and I am really excited about tackling my second season with Scuderia Toro Rosso," said Bourdais.
"I would like to thank Red Bull and Dietrich Mateschitz for this opportunity to continue with a team that made so much progress last year.
"Now, I can focus on preparing for the coming season. It promises to be a very interesting one, thanks to all the rule changes and I'm also looking forward to establishing a good relationship with my new teammate, Sebastien Buemi, to ensure both of us do the best possible job for the team and for Red Bull."
Buemi, Bourdais and former Honda and Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato had taken part in a testing shoot-out for the Toro Rosso drives before Christmas, although it was clear that the team's need for sponsorship was going to be an important consideration as well as the drivers' performances.
Bourdais struggled to match former teammate Sebastian Vettel for much of his F1 debut season. But he made progress in the latter part of the year - and team boss Franz Tost hopes he can build on that in 2009.
"After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season," said Tost.
"He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks and the team. In addition, the slick tyres, which make a comeback this year, should suit his driving style very well.
"Therefore he will tackle the coming season with much more experience under his belt. This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme."
Today's announcement means that all the spaces on the F1 grid are now filled pending developments with the sale of Honda Racing.